It’s Official: Proposed Amendments to BC’s Family Law Act Are in Effect


By Chantal M. Cattermole and Sarah Tradewell

On March 27, 2023, new amendments to the British Columbia Family Law Act were proposed to provide clarity on hotly contested issues arising when spouses separate. Following the Attorney General for British Columbia’s March 27th announcement, our Family Law team wrote a series of in-depth articles exploring each of these proposed changes and how they’ll impact families across the province:

  • Changes to Excluded Property, per Section 85 and 96
    • Endeavours to clarify the common and contentious issues around excluded property in the case of separation.
  • Changes to Pet Custody, per Sections 3.1, 92 and 97
    • Looks to address the division of pets and companion animals between separating and divorcing couples.
  • Changes to Rules of Evidence, per Section 81 and 81.1
    • Aims to address concerns some rules of evidence a judge can consider when determining who owns what in a family dispute.

As of May 11, 2023, these amendments to the Family Law Act regarding the presumption of advancement, the presumption of resulting trust (section 81.1), excluded property (section 85 and 96), and pets (section 97) have received Royal Assent to become law.

While the amendments to sections 81.1, 85, and 96 are now in force, section 81.1 does not apply to “pre-existing proceedings” and sections 85 and 96 continue to apply respecting a “pre-existing proceeding”, meaning:

  1. a proceeding under the Family Law Act respecting property division started before the date that the amendments received Royal Assent; or
  2. a proceeding under the Family Law Act to set aside or replace an agreement respecting property division that was made before the date of May 11, 2023 on which the amendments received Royal Assent.

The amendments regarding pets (section 97) will come into force by regulation. For more information, read Bill 17 here.

Whether you are going through a separation or just want to be prepared for any future changes in your circumstances, this mini-series will provide valuable insights and advice from our Family Law experts. If you would like to learn more or discuss how these changes may affect you and your family, please contact Chantal Cattermole, Sarah Tradewell, or any member of our Family Law team and they will be happy to help you.